According to the legend, a journalist tracked down Mark Twain to tell him there were stories circulating that he had passed on. “Reports of my death,” the living Twain quipped, “are greatly exaggerated.”
Fiscal conservatives need to make certain the same thing will be said this year about the Tea Party. They can do so by standing firm on their signature issue of health care, killing disastrous Republican-sponsored legislation that will bring the country closer to socialized medicine: The “Lower Health Care Costs Act” sponsored by Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Yes, lower health care costs are a good idea. But as the “Affordable” Care Act demonstrates, what matters is what’s in a bill, not what you call the bill.
Make no mistake about it: there’s nothing good in Alexander’s bill. If it passes, the LHCC Act will move the American health care landscape even further to the left than Democrats moved it with Obamacare. The left’s dream of single-payer will move from the street to the doorstep, all under conservatives’ watch.
By ordering care providers to set a “median in-network rate” for services, the system will dance dangerously close to the command-and-control schemes pushed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the Medicare for All crowd. That’s why Dr. Michael Busler, a professor of finance at Stockton University, described the bill as “Medicare for All lite.”
This top-down, central planning approach to health care pricing is incredibly dangerous. It will exacerbate all the worst features of Obamacare — limiting choice and increasing costs, and worsening the doctor and hospital shortages that have intensified since Obamacare’s implementation.
If Republicans pass the LHCC, they will play right into Democrats’ hands. At that point, it would be safe to say that the last nail has been put in the Tea Party movement’s coffin. But it’s not going to happen.
Fiscal conservatives are speaking out against this bill in a way we haven’t seen in years. Dubbing the bill “RINO-Care” on social media, hundreds of the movement’s members, including activists like Charlie Kirk and Donald Trump Jr., are passionately expressing their distaste for LHCC and what it stands for loudly and clearly.
The Tea Party has always been a movement created by and for the people. The thousands of average Janes and Joes across the country that were sick of the establishment in Washington bending the rules for their personal interests unionized and singlehandedly changed the landscape of Washington. And now, these same activists that got this movement off the ground are imposing more political pressure on Congress than they have since at least the 2013 midterms.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and the rest of Congress are smart enough to see what’s happening here. Affordable, accessible health care is currently the issue Americans care about. And it’s the one in that Tea Partiers have worked the hardest to preserve. If Republicans surrender now and pass the LHCC, the case for free-market health care will be lost.
Judson Phillips is founder of the nonprofit Tea Party Nation.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.